Luxe people >>
All my old friends and my family.
Luxe places >>
For a weekend > I love the coast, all the British coast. Norfolk, Dorset and the Northumberland coast where I love Newton-by-the-Sea, for a fantastic walk and then stopping for a pint and some good seafood at The Ship Inn.
A long holiday > Somewhere in the mountains near Corbieres in France. A tiny village with a bar. The fabulous mountain air and the beach half an hour away.
A treat > I’m easily pleased – a first class flight on Singapore airlines. A pampering privilege.
Luxe relax >>
Best food > Depends on my mood but at the moment I’d go for some fresh-caught cod with new potatoes fried in lard!
Best wine > It could be anything, from a local jug to a £100 Bordeaux. If the mood is right and the company is good then whatever you’re drinking is the best wine.
Best restaurant > My mum’s! Irish homely good. We used to have a heart for our Sunday lunch when I was growing up. She made us stews, big pies and walloping great dinners. I have good memories of those Sunday dinners of heart with stuffing – it has a duck/liver texture, slightly chewy. And roasties made with lard. There is nothing like preparing a meal with people you love; chopping, chatting, preparing it together. Close to home I have to say I like The Big Easy in Kings Road. Crab claws, a Kansas steak and a very good New World wine list.
Perfect weekend > A cliff top walk, blue sky, a cosy pub with good local beers and seafood. It’ll have to have rooms to bed down after all that! My favourites include The Anchor at Walberswick near Southwold, The Crown and Anchor, Seatown in Dorset and the aforementioned Ship at Newton.
Downtime means > Outdoors, silence, time to think, to imagine and to be grateful.
Best telly > I like dozy, late night re-runs of classic black and white films, preferably thrillers.
Best book > Dickens’ Bleak House. At school I was kept down a year because my Latin and maths grades were so low. It was because I was hiding books under my desk and I had read all Dickens novels before I was 11. My favourites are Hard Times and Bleak House.
Best sounds > Canterbury Cathedral Choir in full voice. I was a chorister there. When I am traveling I love to find a cathedral and if I am lucky the choir will be practising. I am in Ely in a few weeks’ time so I might pop in to the cathedral for evensong.
Luxe shop >>
Best shopping city > I’m not a great shopper, I confess! I like New York though – I once went there and back in a day on Concorde and went to Bloomingdales where I bought my mum a collection of vintage perfumes – such as Joy and Guerlain – she loved them. Managed to pop in for oysters at Grand Central Station too.
Favourite shop > I love Borough Market in London. It’s an assault on the senses. See, smell and taste the best food in a great atmosphere.
Retail treat > Helena Rubinstein facials and moisturisers! I worked in fashion – including presenting Style Challenge on TV – and the make-up people used to give their advice and recommendations and I have been a fan of Rubinstein ever since. It’s a treat to find it in duty free!
Best buy > I like a designer sale – I am a fan of the designer Adolfo Dominguez so if you can get something in the sale with 40pc or more off then I’m happy.
LUXE PARTY >>
A memorable night out > The local pub, The White Horse, west London, when there’s an England World Cup game on. You can drink Wylam Cascade which I love. There are eight screens to watch and it’s all very lively.
Perfect party > I’m not a great party person. I like those parties which just ‘happen’. If I had to plan I would go for a summer garden party where I knew everyone and we were drinking English sparkling wine.
Best dress > You’ll know my nice pink dressing gown… it’s got a life of its own.
Dinner date > That’d be my dad. He died when I was in my 20s and I’d have so much to tell him. He was a doctor working in the Vietnam jungle setting up health programmes and sadly contracted a fatal virus.
YOUR LUXE THING IN LIFE >>
Being alive, healthy and happy and living in this wonderful country.
Guest Wines hosts Oz Clarke’s two wine events at the Assembly Rooms in Newcastle.
Discover the History of Wine is on 27 November when Oz will tell stories from his latest book, History of Wine in 100 Bottles. On 28 November, Oz hosts a wine tasting over lunch with a question and answer session.